We now know that the easiest way of determining government policy is to listen to the wisdom of Prime Minister Johnson. As soon as he announces that Global Britain will not, in any circumstances, take a specific step, it just becomes a matter of time.
Therefore, as sure as eggs is eggs, we all know that England will be introducing vaccine passports in the very near future. The big question used to be whether they would extend beyond nightclubs and football stadia into theatres.
Our national leader’s other decision-making strategy is to copy the acts of his peers in neighbouring countries. Therefore, those who like reading the runes south and east of the respective borders will have noted with interest that the Welsh government has already announced its intention to extend vaccine certification rules into the medium that we love, while Nicola Sturgeon gave the broadest possible hint that Scotland will be following suit in the very near future.
With the exception of right-wing Tories and civil libertarians, the vast majority of the population seems to be in favour of such measures. There is a proviso, which the Scots and Welsh seem to have taken on board. This is the concern that such impositions can be divisive.
However, it can now be safely assumed that any certification will have more than one limb with the requirement for a double or even treble vaccine supplemented by an alternative whereby others can provide proof of a recent negative test.
What does this all mean in practice? For theatres, it is additional hassle, which they could well do without. On the other hand, few potential punters will be put off by a small amount of additional administrative work that may well cost them nothing at all, unless they are obliged to pay to take a test. Even then, the amount involved will be negligible against the price of a theatre ticket.
It is very obvious that large swathes of the population currently feel that a visit to a packed theatre in which at least half the audience declines the opportunity to wear a mask is unsafe and therefore reluctantly reject a night out to play safe.
Therefore, whether it is justified or not, given all of the media hype that the government has promoted to laud the powers of vaccines, the simple step of introducing vaccine passport or equivalent could make a big difference to theatre managers up and down the country who are still struggling to fill houses and bring in much-needed revenues, which could literally be the difference between survival and closure.
As this column has observed on numerous occasions, on the far side of the Atlantic, standard practice is for anyone visiting a theatre to prove they have been double jabbed and, to add a belt to those braces, accept the obligation to wear a mask throughout any performance.
While it seems unlikely that the current UK government will “follow the science” and invoke any kind of mask requirement, large numbers of potential theatregoers might derive considerable comfort from the knowledge that all of their fellows have either been double vaccinated or tested negative.
That could be illusory but who cares? As long as they feel safe and theatres are making money, that will be good enough for most.
With the likelihood that coronavirus infection rates, which are already ludicrously high, could get even worse through the winter, it is surely only a matter of time before the wisdom shown by the leaders in Wales and Scotland is mirrored in England.